About Us
Contact Us
Photo Album

archaic spearhead, heat treated glacial chert, Northampton, Peoria County

clay pipe bowl, Site of Isaac Chambers’ Tavern

Indian beaded bag, trade item, 1832, Lee Co. Hist. Society

Model canoe with quillwork Galena Hist. Society

Pottery from site Isaac Chambers’ Tavern, Chambers Grove, Ogle Co.

plate c. 1825, Mansberger collection

Glass pitcher, c 1840, excavated on the Peoria Riverfront

red glazed pipe bowl, c. 1850, Peoria Riverfront


Russell Poole’s
Historic Galena Trail Maps

"There are many interesting things along the
Old Galena Trail"

Russell Poole, Ogle County, 2000

Commentary and notes by Patricia L. Goitein, Editor,
Galena Trail Newsletter

Russell Poole, Eagle Point, Ogle County (shown at the right) and Clyde Leary of Byron Monument Co., in 1957. Poole and the Polo branch of the Ogle County Historical Society placed markers along the Galena Trail as part of Polo’s 1957 Centennial Celebrations. Poole is shown here sporting a beard that he grew in honor of the Centennial.


William Durley was killed along the Trail in an ambush during the Black Hawk War. According to Poole, he was buried where he fell near the road. Durley Boyle of Marshall County, great grandnephew of William Durley, rests at the 1910 monument erected on the Galena Trail near Polo in William’s honor by the historical society.

Russell Poole (1910-2002) lived his entire life on the farm where he was born, along an old Galena Trail alignment in Eagle Point, Ogle County. He was interviewed by the editor in 2000, and reported that when he was a boy, one could still see Trail ruts in school house yards and isolated pastures and timber. His curiosity and imagination fired, Poole, while still a boy, collected stories and reminiscences of the people who had traveled along the Trail and settled the country. In the 1950’s, he interviewed landowners, scrutinized local histories, read surveys and plat maps, and tracked down documentary evidence about the Trail, its various alignments and names.


Russell Poole's Maps

Poole’s work is the most thorough and accurate cartographic study of the Galena Trail and Coach Roads to date. He recorded his findings as follows:

U.S. Geological Survey topographical maps. Poole drew the alignments on topographical maps, allowing the viewer to study the relationship between the alignments and the landforms as well as the cemeteries, mines, homes, schools, roads and small communities recorded on these maps. These survey maps, issued between 1909 and 1950, are a valuable source of cultural information about the Trail corridor, recording communities that grew up and then all but disappeared by 2000.

Hand drawn maps. In 1957 and 1958, Poole drew the maps that are reproduced here with permission of the Polo Historical Society. The maps depict the most important and well known Illinois alignments of the Galena Trail system from Peoria to Galena. Each map shows the relevant county, township, section and range, and landmarks, early taverns, ferries and settlements. Poole has also recorded 20th century railroads, highways, and settlements on these maps in order to orient the modern viewer to the historic Trail alignments.

1. All Trails

2. Peoria County to southern Marshall County

3. La Prairie, Marshall Co. to Providence and Tiskilwa, Bureau Co.

4. Providence & Tiskilwa, Bureau County to Ohio, Bureau Co.

5. Ohio, Bureau County to Dixon, Lee County

6. Dixon, Lee County to Buffalo Grove, Ogle County

7. Buffalo Grove, Ogle County to Cherry Grove, Carroll, County

8. Kellogg Trail and Kellogg’s Grove, Stephenson County

9. Freedom Twp., Carroll County to Elizabeth, Jo Daviess County

10. Elizabeth to Galena, Jo Daviess County, Illinois


Note: Russell Poole’s work is available to researchers upon prior arrangement at the Polo Historical Society, Polo, Illinois.

Poole and Boyle photographs, courtesy of Polo Historical Society. Thumbnail photographs at left, Patricia Goitein.


Copyright © Pat Goitein
All rights reserved

Webmaster: Janine Crandell